Saturday, May 21, 2005

World in a Pancake- Adai or Sprouted mung bean pancakes

Pancake is sort of a westernized name for this South Indian breakfast/snack food. 'Adai' as it is called in Tamil Nadu, consists of rice, various lentils and beans ground with red or green chilies, cilantro, coconut, black pepper into a coarse mass. This is then spread thickly onto cast-iron griddles and cooked until reddish brown. This one is a healthier, fiber- and protein-rich recipe since it calls for sprouted lentils and mung bean. Our Indian vegetarian diet seemingly relies too much on empty carbohydartes while badly lacking in proteins. This recipe is one of the few exceptions- it is very filling without relying too much on carbohydrates like rice. You may have to start the sprouts 2-3 days before you want to make this.

I used a type of lentil called horsegram - no, it has no relationship to horses. The small brown French lentils will work well too. Mung beans were the second component. Both of these were soaked overnight separately, drained and sprouted.

Adai (serves 4-6)

1 cup Brown lentil sprouts
1 cup mung bean sprouts (I don't think the Chinese bean sprouts would work for this recipe)

1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
3 serrano chilies or 3 dried red chilies
1/2 cup scallions, chopped (even shallots or onions will do)
1/2 cup spinach or other greens, finely minced (optional- add if you want more nutrition)
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely minced (optional)
1 tsp salt or more to taste

Grind sprouts with ginger and chilies into a coarse, thick batter.

Mix in salt, scallions, greens and cilantro.

Spread a ladleful of batter, thickly on a medium hot griddle. Add a tsp of oil around the pancake.

You do not need to make the hole in the middle. I do this 'coz my mom does it. Cook for about a minute on each side. The adai should be a rich, reddish brown. Serve hot with raita or coconut chutney. It is also great with my childhood favorite side-dish of ghee-sugar mixture (that is if you don't mind the calories).


  1. i totally agree- i also follow an indian vegetarian diet and am extra vigilant about getting enough protein. adai is a family favorite- i eat mine with lots of cilantro chutney or ketchup!

  2. I didnt know the beans had to sprout! I just use a mix of chana dal, split moong dal and arhar dal and rice, all soaked for about 8 hours. Your recipe is a new one on me, gonna try it soon :) Thanks!

  3. This is a healthier version if you want to up your fiber and protein intake. Actually it is a diabetic friendly recipe from a tamil weekly.

  4. what no rice? i got to try this.

  5. came out good. Thanks!

  6. YUM!! I have never made adai at home; was looking for a sprouts recipe..this is perfect! Thanks.

  7. Mika, What a wonderful adai... I was looking for no grain ideas and got here.

    Btw, the relation to horses is that boiled kollu is given to horses a lot.

    I'll give it a try soon.